Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Bucks Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is racing for $2 million this Saturday night in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. That is not a misprint. Harvick is racing for $2 million.
In conjunction with the launch of Busch Beer’s loyalty program “Busch Bucks,” 42-year old Steve Sinanan, an accountant and consultant from Orlando, Florida, will have the opportunity to win $1 million – matching the first-place prize taken home by the All-Star Race winner – but only if it is Harvick who takes the checkered flag.
Sinanan, an avid Harvick fan, outdoors enthusiast and Busch Beer drinker, says he would use the money to pay off his student loans and invest the rest. He will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend to watch the excitement trackside and to see if he is taking home the $1 million grand prize. Harvick’s No. 4 Busch Bucks Ford Fusion will showcase a special paint scheme featuring a “million-dollar look” – literally.
Sinanan, who regularly drives the hour from his home in Orlando to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway to attend the Daytona 500 each February, is just like most Busch Beer drinkers in his love of the outdoors. His hobbies include fishing and swimming, and he regularly makes home-cooked meals with Busch Beer as a key ingredient.
The good news for Sinanan is that Harvick is an experienced NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race competitor with a history of success in the annual event.
Harvick is making his 17th consecutive All-Star appearance, which moves him into a tie with Matt Kenseth for the sixth-most consecutive appearances ahead of Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Labonte. Mark Martin has the most consecutive All-Star appearances at 24, and Jeff Gordon is second after making his 22nd straight appearance prior to his retirement at the conclusion of 2015. Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart are tied for third with 19, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 18.
The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion earned his first appearance in the All-Star Race during his 2001 rookie campaign, when he scored his first NASCAR Cup Series win in only his third Cup Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway that March. He started the race fifth, led 18 laps and beat runner-up Jeff Gordon by .006 of a second for one of the closest finishes in Cup Series history. While he qualified for his first All-Star Race in only his third start, a brake issue in the All-Star Race forced him to retire after only 19 laps. He finished 21st.
Harvick won the 2007 All-Star Race when he started fourth, led 20 of 80 laps and beat runner-up Jimmie Johnson to the finish line by .141 of a second. The win made Harvick an automatic All-Star qualifier. However, he has qualified for the All-Star Race by virtue of a win every season since 2010 and also as the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion.
In addition to the one win, Harvick has three runner-up finishes in the All-Star Race – two in the last three events. He started third, led five laps and finished second to race-winner Jamie McMurray by .696 of a second in 2014. In 2015, he started 20th and finished second by .923 of a second to Denny Hamlin.
The 2007 All-Star Race winner has three additional points-paying wins at Charlotte. He won the Coca-Cola 600 in both 2011 and 2013, in addition to his win in the 2014 Bank of America 500.
Given Harvick’s past performance at Charlotte, Saturday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race may be Sinanan’s best chance to cash a $1 million payday, all coming courtesy of Harvick and Busch Beer.
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Bucks Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Is it added pressure racing to win $1 million for a race fan with Busch Bucks on the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford this week?
“We want to win every single week, but the Busch Bucks million-dollar giveaway definitely ups the ante and adds some serious pressure to the No. 4 team in the All-Star Race. Even though it’s a non-points race, the stakes are going to be about as high as they can possibly be on Saturday night.”
If you’re in the mix on the final lap of the All-Star Race, what would you do to win?
“Heck, you don’t have to put $1 million up to know what most of us would do to try and win a race. But, when there are no points on the line and $1 million at stake, plus $1 million for a race fan through the Busch Bucks program this week, you definitely throw caution to the wind and go for it. A lot of times you see that at the All-Star Race and it ends up with a lot of bent-up sheet metal due to moves that aren’t necessarily thought out very well – and we’ve all made them. It’s a fun race and it’s fun just for that reason. If you make a mistake, the repercussions aren’t really that great in terms of points or anything like that. It’s really about trying to win and that carrot that they dangle out in front of you is a trophy and a million bucks – so go for it.”